Friday, May 24, 2013

Hey Cupcake!

I love donating my work because #1 it helps out a good cause and #2 I get to try out new recipes and flavor combos. When I donate people are gracious enough not to ask for specific flavors etc. ( usually).

This time I tried a new vanilla cupcake, a new chocolate cupcake, and a new red velvet cupcake. All of them are from Your Cup Of Cake.
I chose these recipes because when donating I try to keep my costs down and using a mix helps. Most of the recipes on her blog use a box mix as a base which makes the cupcakes, fast , easy and inexpensive. She mixes in just enough extras to take away the chemical taste also.

I used my heat safe buttercream and my chocolate buttercream for these cupcakes, along with a Cream Cheese icing recipe I found on the Texas Cottage Food Law's page. Any recipe that is approved for Texas heat and remains food safe is sure to work here in the northeast.

Here are the recipes, the only thing I changed was the amount of cinnamon in the chocolate cupcakes.

For my vanilla I used :
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For the chocolate I used :

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Finally the Red Velvet

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There ya have it, recipe overload ( and 3 weeks worth of Test Kitchen Tuesday;) .
These all came out great!
To make them a little extra special I made some gumpaste discs.  Let those dry and then with a rubber stamp from Michaels and some Wilton food color gels (mixed with just a drop of Vodka ) , I stamped little hands on the discs to fit the theme of Hands for Honduras ( the name of the mission that is fundraising )  and the design on their T-shirts.

Stamping on dried fondant/ gumpaste discs is a great way to decorate cupcakes in a hurry.

Friday, May 17, 2013

A chance to learn and help

On May 18th, Craftsy is hosting Free Class Day to benefit DonorsChoose.
 For one day only, new members can choose one free course from a selection of favorite Craftsy classes, up to a $39.99 value!
 If you haven't taken a Craftsy class yet, Saturday is your chance to sign up for your first by choosing from classes in quilting, sewing, knitting, cake decorating, and more for FREE.
If they meet their goal of giving away 10,000 classes, Craftsy will donate $5,000 to DonorsChoose to fund arts education in public schools across the US. Brandon works for our city school district and I could go on for days about how much help they need. This is a win, win offer.
Unfortunately existing Craftsy members are not eligible for the free course offer, but will still receive a special treat.
You all know how much I love Craftsy and how much I have learned with their online classes, I wanted to share this with any of you who still haven't checked them out.
Now is a great time for your first class.

I'll be back shortly with a new tutorial...stay tuned.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Test Kitchen Tuesday ~ Week 14

This week I had a chocolate craving to tame.
Mother's Day set the tone and I couldn't stop there.
I had a box of brownie mix in the pantry so I decided to try out my pin for Peanut Butter Brownie Squares from
The recipe card below reflects the changes I made.
I did not use specific name brand ingredients, and it didn't matter. I added 1/2 cup confectioners sugar to the frosting for stiffness. I did not use the drizzle and made them into filled brownie squares.

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I always line my brownie pans with parchment so they come out clean and no crust  is stuck to the sides of the pan that needs to be sandblasted off and baked them for about 30 minutes.

While they were baking I whipped up the butter cream topping .

The brownies came out thin due to the size of the pan so I decided to cut the sheet in 1/2.

Spread a generous helping of the peanut butter buttercream on top of one half and then topped that with the other half making it a peanut butter filled brownie.

These were so good.
So good that I got up at 3 am and ate one.
These can never again be made in this house...ever.
Unless I am having a really bad day, or I have enough company to eat them all, or it's windy outside, or it's raining, or it's too sunny, or it's a day that ends in 'y'...
Try these, easy and delicious.
Brandon topped his with ice cream. I tried to have a little self control but that looked really good too.
So, going back to the rating system
Survey says:

Even though I sandwiched mine and didn't use the same brand name ingredients the recipe called for, this recipe is a winner.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Last Minute Wedding Cake Tutorial

It's Tuesday evening, I get a call from a very good friend.
" Hey, I need a HUGE favor and you are the only one who can help".
 I grabbed my super hero cape and said " of course, what do you need?"
"A wedding cake for Saturday".
This is not the shortest notice I have ever been given, but it's still pretty short.
It's a small wedding he is hosting in the back yard of his home. Very quaint and personal. He didn't want the bride & groom to have to go to Walmart for a cake ( as they were planning to ) and just wanted something small and pretty.

The bride wants red roses on it, that was my only instruction, the rest is creative freedom which I love.
Seeing as it's an outdoor spring wedding I decided to go with a soft, natural,  shabby chic look.

The cake is made of  9, 7 and 5 inch tiers.
First I leveled my cakes and filled with a non-dairy buttercream recipe that I use for outdoor events where heat may be an issue.
It's an easy recipe.

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If you have never tried Creme Bouquet it's also know as " wedding cake flavor " . I purchase mine here. CK Products.

I let them settle over night to prevent " the bulge".
Once they settled I pulled out my little cake level to make sure they were perfect.

Then I iced them in the heat safe butter cream.

 I decided to ruffle this cake. I know I have done a similar tutorial before but this time I didn't use any fancy cutters, just a ruler and a pizza cutter to make the strips.
I rolled out some white fondant very thin.
I used the width of my ruler as a guide for each strip.

Ruffle the top edge of each strip with a ball tool.

Wet the backside of the strip with some water and wrap around the cake.
Starting at the top and working down to the bottom with each strip.

Repeat, repeat, repeat...
Stack next tier ( remember your supports ) and do it all over again.

...and again.
This is what you will have when you are done wrapping the cake.

I used decorative pearl strands I found in the wedding section of A.C. Moore for borders on each tier.

I was not going to have time to make the red roses out of gum paste and have them dry in time so I used silk roses mixed with buds for a more natural look.
I trimmed the stems and inserted in flower spikes. ~ Remember , NEVER insert wires directly into cakes.

And here it is...a quick last minute wedding cake.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Test Kitchen Tuesday ~ This is not a test.

This week we celebrated Cinco de Mayo.
My family doesn't need a reason to eat Mexican food and drink margaritas , that's pretty common practice around here.
I searched for some new Mexican recipes on Pinterest, but in the back of my mind I had Fried Ice Cream.
This has been one of our favorite desserts for years and I have a wonderful recipe I developed in my bag of tricks.
So instead of sharing someone else's recipe I am sharing my own this week.
This is not a test...the is the real deal.
Our local Mexican restaurant actually fries the ice cream.
I do not.
So I guess it's un-fried ice cream, so that makes it healthy right??!?

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Crush 2 cups of corn flakes cereal. I put mine in a ziploc bag and smash with my hands until it's in very course crumbs.
Add 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 TBSP granulated sugar to the bag and mix .

Scoop out your desired amount of ice cream, roll into a ball.
This will melt a bit but that is ok.
Once you have your ice cream ball roll in the corn flake mixture.

Place your coated ice cream ball on wax paper and wrap, then wrap wax paper covered ball in aluminum foil and put in the freezer for 2 - 3 hours to firm up.

Remove ball from wrapping.

Drizzle with honey, strawberries and chocolate sauce.
Add whipped cream and a cherry.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

My new favorite technique - Hand Painted Fondant

I have always been afraid of food color gel.
In the beginning it would get everywhere and stain my hands , my clothes, my kitchen...everything!
I decided to make peace with it finally and learn to paint on my fondant cakes.
I was inspired to give it a try thanks to Craftsy who is offering a FREE online mini class on painted cakes.
I can't go wrong with free and online, so I gave it a try.
I put newspapers down, put on my gloves, an old t-shirt,  I was prepared for disaster.
I ended up thrilled!
I used vodka to thin my colors and I did invest in a very good fine paint brush.
I will be using this technique a lot. I would say it's my favorite right now.
Even if I don't paint the entire design, I plan on painting some of the  accents like grass, maybe a small flower, outline fondant accents.
I highly recommend checking out the online tutorial on Craftsy.
It's fabulous and FREE !
Click on the picture below to check out the tutorial I used.

Online Cake Decorating Class